WASHINGTON — A U.S. military airstrike in Syria killed an al-Qaida leader with ties to militant movements across the Middle East, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook identified the target as an Egyptian named Abu Afghan al-Masri. Cook called him a senior al-Qaida leader in Syria who joined the organization in Afghanistan several years ago and had a hand in attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Cook said the strike was carried out Nov. 18 by a U.S. military drone aircraft. It was the latest in a series of attacks aimed at eliminating al-Qaida leadership.

"This is someone who helped organize al-Qaida activities and was directly affiliated with senior leaders there as well, and this is someone who's been on our radar for some time," Cook said.